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Quest for style

By Producer Deborah Rivers
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- "Style ... you can't buy it. You've either got it or you don't". No mercy from hotel heiress Nicky Hilton -- but her advice fails to instil confidence in CNN's Richard Quest as he embarks on a "Quest for Style".

Quest tackles some knotty issues with England's first knight of fashion, Sir Paul Smith.

On this month's show, Quest meets those immaculate and inspiring individuals who epitomise style. It doesn't matter what they do, say or wear -- they look chic. Elegance, glamour and confidence ooze from their every pore.

First stop is Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, arguably the most stylish shopping street in the world.

It's here that celebrities, including Nicky Hilton, spend their fortune. Rich beyond belief, Hilton need never work a day. Yet, she's carving a career in the cut-throat fashion industry.

After dragging Quest around the shops she tells us about her boutique business, famous family and a life in the limelight. Understated, shy and hard working -- Hilton's life is the antithesis of that of her sister Paris.

Selecting a stylish wardrobe is a minefield. Quest tries to decide between a blazer, beachwear, tie and tails .. a plaid or patterned shirt, suits or sweats?

Who better to get advice from than a woman who's paid mega-bucks to look good. Milla Jovovich, the supermodel, actress, musician and soon-to-be mother, has now launched her own fashion line. The Ukrainian beauty explains her passion for fashion.

At this point, Quest remains bamboozled by the abstract notion of style so he seeks clarification from a good old-fashioned tailor -- Sir Paul Smith.

Alas, the British menswear legend confesses he doesn't have a clue. Sir Paul rescues the situation by complimenting Quest on his outfit -- then whips him up one of his own designs.

Like Sir Paul, the other British fashion genius Alexander McQueen, hails from humble beginnings -- London's East End.

He talks to Quest about his reputation for controversy that's earned him the titles "enfant terrible" and "the hooligan of English fashion".

His latest collection, inspired by the Salem witch trials, came about after discovering that three of his ancestors were burned at the stake. McQueen's philosophy is that fashion should break taboos.

A self-described social commentator, he believes that ' you either have style or you don't'.

Still in London, we find out what goes on behind the scenes of a fashion photographic shoot.

The Daily Telegraph's legendary fashion director, Hilary Alexander, invites us along to help style the famous Miller sisters, actress Sienna and Savannah, an up-and-coming designer. The striking siblings are launching their own label called 'Twenty8Twelve', featuring denim, knitwear, tailored jackets and dresses.

Later, Quest has a rendez-vous with the queen of burlesque renaissance. Described as "the stunning stripper", Dita Von Teese is the ultimate style icon.

Style, she says, is about creating a timeless, classical look and using one's taste and imagination. A wry smile and a cheeky flick of Quest's suspenders and Dita has him convinced.

India Hicks is most famous for being one of Princess Diana's bridesmaids, but it's only one notch on her aristocratic credentials. Her Godfather is Prince Charles, Lord Mountbatten was her grandfather and she's the daughter of the lauded interior designer, David Hicks.

A decade ago, Hicks escaped the city society circuit and set up home in the Bahamas. During a long stroll on golden sands, Hicks makes Quest jealous over her stylish island lifestyle.

Back home, Quest meets up with Hicks again at London's most stylish summer party at the Serpentine Gallery.


On the red carpet, Quest corners the likes of Rod Stewart and his glamourous wife Penny, British "it" girl Tara Palmer Tomkinson, style guru Trinny Woodall, Mick's daughter Jade Jagger and the controversial artist Tracy Emin.

This is not Quest's world but - taking in all the tips he's learned - he tries out life as a model. Find out on this month's show if he's got what it takes to be stylish. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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